Monday, 16 February 2009

Ramp - Come Into Knowledge - 1977 - ABC

RAMP, or Roy Ayers Musical Production, released this rare LP on ABC Records in 1977, and rare it remained until Verve reissued this album on CD a few years ago. The album was highly sought after for the song "Daylight" which was a favourite of the Hip-Hoppers in the late 80s / early 90s. My favourite usages were A Tribe Called Quest in 1990 on their fun "Bonita Applebum" and later Shades in 1996 with "What Would You Do". Not at all surprising that there was a rush in interest for this song, and sadly the breakbeat hunters pushed the price of the LP up and up. Still, it's on superior CD now and a LOT cheaper! RAMP were comprised of John Manuel on drums and percussion, lead vocalists Sharon Matthews and Sibel Thrasher, bassist Nate White and Landy Shores on guitar. And all these under the wings of Roy Ayers, William Allen and the mighty funky Edwin Birdsong.

"Daylight" aside, we have a strong album with a strong Roy Ayers flavour though Roy is noticeably absent from the music. No vocals, no vibes yet we know who's hand is at the tiller. Roy has a certain mode of singing, almost deadpan in places, and the fine Ladies here certainly stick to this formula very well. They harmonise in the same scale as Roy sings, and this is clear with all of Roy's work through the decades. "I Just Love You" is great and would appeal to fans of 80s Ladies, the reworking of "Everyone Loves The Sunshine" is good, but not as good as Roy's original. However I love the eerie synths used at this period of time and this track certainly makes use of one or two of those. I am totally in love with the title track of this album, the vibe is similar to "Daylight" so cannot fail to lose. "Daylight" Itself makes me feel like I'm floating on a warm, comfy cloud. The quirky keys and haunting synths on here, along with the funky guitar take this track to a completely different dimension. One of Roy Ayers most memorable and desirable tracks. This album is a dream.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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